Cocktail Corner: Sip, Swirl and be Merry at the Canary

Holidays at the Canary, courtesy photo.

Holidays at the Canary, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

The rooftop of the Canary will decked in the spirit of the holiday season this December with a special holiday Sip & Swirl Series.

First up is Dec. 7 with Bubbles Sip & Swirl, where guests can enjoy sparkling wine from top labels like Taittinger, Laurent-Perrier, Henriot and Gruet.

The Dec. 19 Sip & Swirl features Bourbons and Cabernets and will showcase cab producers such as DAOU, Freemark Abbey and Grassini, as well as bourbons from local and domestic distillers like Breaker Bourbon Whiskey and Four Roses Bourbon.

Holidays at the Canary, courtesy photo.

Holidays at the Canary, courtesy photo.

Both events feature festive décor, music and cheese pairings, as well as local chocolates for sale, and select wineries taking bottle orders.  

The Canary Holiday Sip & Swirl series will be held on Dec. 7 and Dec. 19 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35, and can be purchased at NightOut.com, or at the door.  The Canary Hotel is located at 31 W. Carrillo St.

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 25, 2017.

Cocktail Corner: Santa Barbara Wine Festival

"The Magnificent Seven" (left to right) Ken Brown, Bob Lundquist, Richard Sanford, Jim Clendenen, Drake Whitcraft, Doug Margerum, and Fred Brander - a veritable 'who's who' of Central Coast winemakers, will all be at this year's Santa Barbara Wine Festival again – for the 28th year. Photo by Joni Kelly.

“The Magnificent Seven” (left to right) Ken Brown, Bob Lundquist, Richard Sanford, Jim Clendenen, Drake Whitcraft, Doug Margerum, and Fred Brander – a veritable ‘who’s who’ of Central Coast winemakers, will all be at this year’s Santa Barbara Wine Festival again – for the 28th year. Photo by Joni Kelly.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

The beautiful grounds of Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History are a wonderful spot to appreciate being out in nature, and what better way to enjoy a summer weekend than sipping wine underneath the oaks along Mission Creek? Especially when the proceeds go to support the work of the museum.

Santa Barbara Wine Festival, photo by Bob Dickey

Santa Barbara Wine Festival, photo by Bob Dickey

“Santa Barbara Wine Festival is a wine-focused festival,” says Festival Chair, Meridith Moore. Indeed, more than 50 wineries will be pouring at the museum, including some of our favorites like Santa Barbara Winery, Arthur Earl, Grassini, Kita Wines (Chumash Tribe), Palmina, Alma Rosa, Koehler, Au Bon Climat, Babcock, Sunstone, Fess Parker, Andrew Murray, Margerum, Jamie Slone, Beckmen and Whitcraft, to name just a few.

There are plenty of tasty bites at Santa Barbara Wine Festival as well. “We have a large array of top-shelf food purveyors, many of whom are especially paired with wineries that complement one another,” says Moore. “It is exciting because many of the winemakers and chefs are present and available for the guests to meet and discuss the qualities of their varietals and menu items–just another example of why this has become one of the most beloved wine festivals on the Central Coast and the one to attend.”

Scrumptious samples from local food purveyors will complement the wines poured at the Museum's annual event. Photo by Valentin Mendoza.

Scrumptious samples from local food purveyors will complement the wines poured at the Museum’s annual event. Photo by Valentin Mendoza.

Among the yummy items on the menu are: Braised Short Rib Meatballs (Michael’s Catering); Oyster Shooters (Brophy Bros.); Homemade Tamales (Santa Barbara Tamales To Go); Sage and Butternut Squash Raviolis (Ca Dario); Cheese Tastings from around the World (C’est Cheese); Hand-rolled Truffles (Jessica Foster Confections); and Mini Cupcakes (Coveted Cakery), to name a few.

Santa Barbara Wine Festival takes place at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (2559 Puesta de Sol, 805/682-4711, sbnature.org) on Saturday, June 27 from 2-5 p.m.

For more information and to purchase admission for the Santa Barbara Wine Festival, please visit sbnature.org/winefestival.

Hope to see you there. Cheers!

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Leslie Dinaberg

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on June 19. 2015.

Cocktail Corner: Movie-Inspired Sips and Savories

The Lark is one of many restaurants offering specials to honor the 30th anniversary of SBIFF. Photo courtesy of The Lark.

The Lark is one of many restaurants offering specials to honor the 30th anniversary of SBIFF. Photo courtesy of The Lark.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

It’s easy to get the star treatment during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF). As part of a special Film Feast promotion, all sorts of local watering holes and restaurants are offering movie-themed specials during the Film Festival (January 27 – February 7).

Here are a few of my faves:

Get in the mood for a sweep at the Oscars (my prediction) with a Birdman Martini at Ty Lounge at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara (1260 Channel Dr.). Made with 10 Cane Rum, Galliano, Gran Gala and lime, I recommend trying this one outside on the patio at sunset. Other specials include an Outstanding Carell Collins and a Cousteau Margarita. All come with an excellent view of Butterfly Beach.

The Lark (131 Anacapa St.) also has a special SBIFF Fizz Cocktail made with Cutler’s Gin, Santa Barbara Blood Oranges and Pimm’s.

Margerum M5

Margerum M5

If you prefer wine to cocktails, one of the newer tasting rooms in the Wine Collection of El Paseo, Jamie Slone Wines (23 E. De La Guerra St.) is doing a salute to As Good as it Gets. They’ve partnered with C’est Cheese (Hello? Wine and cheese pretty much are as good as it gets!) to offer $20 wine and cheese pairings, along with screenings of the Jack Nicholson film daily at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. (pairings are available from noon – 6 p.m. daily).

Another great movie—Vino Veritas  (“In Wine, the Truth”) —is screening at Margerum Wine Company Tasting Room (813 Anacapa St.), which is in the Wine Collection of El Paseo as well. Also in that same charming paseo is Happy Canyon Vineyard‘s “A Good Year” Tasting Flight One, featuring a Staffords Chocolate Truffle paired with 2013 Happy Canyon Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, 2011 Happy Canyon Vineyard Barrack Blanc, 2010 Piocho, 2009 Barrack Brand and 2010 Barrack Ten-Goal.

The other Wine Collection of El Paseo tasting rooms—Au Bon Climat and Grassini—also have special film fest deals going on, so feel free to make a double- or triple-feature of it.

Also down the street at Armada Wine & Beer Merchant (1129-A State St.)  is the James Bond Globe Trotter Flight, where you can sample three wines from around the globe, as a tribute to the festival of course!

The food side of the film feast also has some fun options. Here are some highlights:

The Pasta Shoppe, in Santa Barbara Public Market (38 W. Victoria St.) has a special $30 prix fixe menu in honor of the 30th anniversary of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The special Italian-film-themed menu includes “Under the Tuscan Sun” Insalata dell casa with arugula, shaved red onion, teardrop tomatoes and house made grapefruit vinegrette; plus a choice of: “The Big Night” spinach, Ricotta Gnudi, pomodoro, pecorino; “Lady & the Tramp” bucatini with beef and pork bolognese, fresh herbs and parmigano; or “American in Rome” wild mshroom gnocchi, with herbed white wine sauce truffle oil. I tried the gnocchi recently and it was amazing! Don’t miss out on this one.

The Pasta Shoppe's

The Pasta Shoppe’s “American in Rome” wild mushroom gnocchi, with herbed white wine sauce and truffle oil. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Also saluting the festival is “I Am Prawns!” at Crocodile Restaurant and Bar at the Lemon Tree Inn (2819 State St.). This prix fixe menu is inspired by the 2009 Italian film I Am Love. Take 1: Bacon wrapped prawns, paired with Rusack Sauvignon Blanc. Take 2: Filet mignon with portobello mushroom demi glaze, garnished with blue cheese, served with grilled vegetables and truffled mac n’ cheese; paired with Qupe Syrah. Take 3: Triple layer chocolate mousse cake paired with Robert Hall Vintage Port. This is well-priced at $35 per person or $50 per person with wine pairings. Give them a call, as reservations are recommended.

Enjoy the fest and the feast! Cheers!

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Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 30, 2015.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

 

 

 

 

Cocktail Corner: My Happy Dance-worthy List

The gals at Grassini are pouring on Sunday at the annual Wine Collection of El Paseo Labor Day Weekend Block Party, courtesy photo.

The gals at Grassini are pouring on Sunday at the annual Wine Collection of El Paseo Labor Day Weekend Block Party, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

We’ve got a long, Labor Day weekend ahead of us, which is certainly more than enough to make me smile. Here are a few more happy dance-worthy things on my list right now:

1. Taste of the Town

The 33rd annual Santa Barbara Taste of the Town, a wine and culinary event benefiting the Arthritis Foundation on Sunday, Sept. 7 is sure to be a wonderful afternoon of wine tasting and delicious nibbles presented from many of Santa Barbara’s finest restaurants and wineries. For more information and to purchase tickets call Arthritis Foundation at 805/563-4685 visit TasteofTheTownSantaBarbara.org.

2. Labor Day Sunday block party at El Paseo

This Sunday (Aug. 31) from noon to 3 p.m., you can enjoy the once a year Wine Collection of El Paseo Labor Day Weekend Block Party. A $30 fee gets you tastings from Margerum Wine Company, Grassini, Au Bon Climat, Happy Canyon Vineyard and Jamie Slone Wines, as well as a commemorative glass and taco lunch.  813 Anacapa St., Santa Barbara in El Paseo.

3. Oysters and Bubbly

Oysters and sparkling wine make beautiful music together, especially this time of year. We like to pair local oysters from Santa Barbara Fish Market with a sparkling Italian wine like Berlucchi Franciacorta Brut.

4. Barbecue Time

Long weekends are the perfect time to fire up the coals (or gas up the grills). Luckily, I’ve already compiled a wealth of winning wine options to pair with your favorite foods.

5. A Real Happy Dance

Check out Audrey Hepburn in this fun clip from Funny Face.

I hope this makes you want to get out there and (happy) dance like no one’s watching this holiday weekend. Have fun. Cheers!

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Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on August 29 2014.

Leslie Dinaberg

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Arthritis Foundation’s 33rd Annual Taste of the Town

Photo courtesy Arthritis Foundation's Taste of the Town

Photo courtesy Arthritis Foundation’s Taste of the Town

We got a preview last week of what’s in store for the 33rd annual Santa Barbara Taste of the Town, and there’s a lot to be excited about for this signature culinary event benefiting the Arthritis Foundation.

Taking place on Sunday, Sept. 7 at the picturesque Riviera Park Gardens, 2030 Alameda Padre Serra,  from noon-3 p.m., the fundraiser is expected to attract more than  1,000 guests for an afternoon of wine tasting and delicious nibbles presented from many of Santa Barbara’s finest restaurants and wineries.

Mingle and support a good cause over live entertainment overlooking the beautiful city below.

Opal Restaurant & Bar co-owners Tina Takaya and Richard Yates are co-chairs for the event. Some of the participating restaurants include: Aldo’s Italian Restaurant, Blue Tavern, Ca’ Dario, Fresco Café & Bakery, Il Fustino, Los Agaves, Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant, Louie’s California Bistro, Michael’s Catering, New West Catering/Industrial Eats, Olivos del Mar, Opal Restaurant & Bar, Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro, Santa Barbara City College, The Chase Restaurant, The Faculty Club, The Palace Grill and Via Maestra 42, among others.

Wine, beer and beverages will be provide by: Adelaida, Alexander & Wayne/Arthur Earl, Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards (winemaker Richard Sanford is a special honoree), Au Bon Climat, Babcock Vineyards, Brander Vineyard, Brewer-Clifton, Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard, Carr Vineyards & Winery, Consilience Winery/Tre Anelli, Daniel Gehrs Wines, Falcone Family Vineyards, Fess Parker Winery, Fiddlehead Cellars, Figueroa Mountain Brewery, Foxen, Giessinger Winery, Grassini, Island Brewing Company, Jaffurs Wine Cellars, Ken Brown Wines, Kenneth Volk Vineyards, Lafond Winery and Vineyards, Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards/Toccata Wines, Margerum Wine CompanyMelville Vineyards & Winery, Mosby Winery, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Qupe, Sanford WinerySanta Barbara Winery, Scott Cellars, Silver Wines, Sort This Out Cellars, Starlane & Dierberg Vineyards/Three Saints, Sunstone Vineyards, Tolosa, Whitcraft Winery, William James Cellars and Zaca Mesa, among others.

Photo courtesy Arthritis Foundation's Taste of the Town

Photo courtesy Arthritis Foundation’s Taste of the Town

Kendall Viera, a 13-year-old middle school student from Santa Ynez has been named this year’s Youth Honoree. She was diagnosed at the age of 6 with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) and is currently in remission, thanks to medical advances. To see a video of Viera talking about why she supports the Arthritis Foundation click here.

Dr. Timothy Spiegel has been named the event’s Medical Honoree. Hel is a rheumatologist (arthritis specialist) in Santa Barbara that has been diagnosing and treating patients for almost 40 years. 

All proceeds from Taste of the Town support local programs and services of the Arthritis Foundation. The foundation is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of 53 million people (including nearly 300,000 children) with arthritis through research and local programs of education, advocacy and juvenile arthritis support.

Taste of the Town tickets purchased in advance are $125 per person; tickets at the door will be $140, if available, and corporate group discounts are also available. Tickets are limited, so early reservations are encouraged. For tickets and information call 805/463-4685 or visit tasteofthetownsantabarbara.org.

Sponsors and their guests will also enjoy the exclusive Connoisseurs’ Circle, co-chaired by Jennifer Jaqua and Jacques Habra. Celebrating its fifth year, this unique VIP experience will feature a progressive tasting menu designed and prepared by a visiting chef of distinction at Belmond El Encanto on Friday, Sept. 5, along with a live auction. Taste of the Town sponsorship opportunities are still available by contacting Asher Garfinkel at 805/563-4685.

–Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on July 31, 2014.

Cocktail Corner: The Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail “Summer Celebration”

Courtesy Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail

Courtesy Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

It sure feels like summer with the weather we’ve had this week! The Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail will  keep the warm summer vibe going with three toast-worthy events over one wine-filled weekend, May 30 – June 1.

Dubbed the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail “Summer Celebration,”  the festivities feature a Passport to the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail for the weekend, a Red & White AVA Seminar and the Grand Tasting. The “Summer Celebration” Passport will be happening all weekend long (May 30 – June 1) at all of the 23 tasting rooms. The Passport gives you special wine tasting opportunities and complimentary tastings, including the chance to meet winemakers, reserve vintage exhibitions, light bites and live musical entertainment. Passport holders will also get a 10% discount on wine purchases at all member tasting rooms that weekend.

Guests  begin their wine tasting adventures by picking up their Passport and signature logo glass at any one of the three check-in points, including Carr Winery, Santa Barbara Winery and Margerum Wine Company.

Courtesy Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail

Courtesy Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail

The event kicks into high gear on Saturday, May 31 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Wine Cask restaurant with the Red & White AVA Seminar featuring ten wines (five red and five white) from some of Santa Barbara’s top wineries, including AVA Santa Barbara, Carr, Deep Sea, Grassini, Jaffurs, Margerum Wine Company, Pali, Riverbench, and Sanford. Learn all about the American Viticulture Areas (AVA) of Santa Barbara County—Santa Maria Valley, Santa Ynez Valley, Sta. Rita Hills, Ballard Canyon and Happy Canyon—and how the different grape growing regions affect taste. Each of the winemakers will share one of their finest library and current release wines that represent the AVA it was grown in. Mitchell Sjerven, owner of the renowned Bouchon restaurant, will moderate the seminar and guide guests through each of these unique and notable wines.

Summer Celebration passport-posterThe festivities continue on Saturday evening with the Grand Tasting at the Carrillo Ballroom from 6–9 p.m. All 23 of the winemakers from the Urban Wine Trail will host guests for an evening of world-class wine, along with the opportunity to purchase very limited library wines not available to the public. A selection of the area’s best restaurants will also share delicious delights that pair nicely with each of the wine varietals.

It wouldn’t be a true Santa Barbara event without a nonprofit component and this weekend has two terrific nonprofit partnerships. A special collaboration with Youth Interactive Santa Barbara will showcase art produced by the students, inspired by each of the 23 wineries, and will be displayed at the Grand Tasting. There will also be a live auction to raise money for the Unity Shoppe of Santa Barbara.

Tickets can be purchased for just one of the events or the entire weekend, with prices as follows: $60 – Seminar only; $75 – Grand Tasting only; $50 – Passport only; $100 – Grand Tasting/Seminar bundle; $100 – Grand Tasting/Passport bundle and $150 – VIP All Access.

Urban Wine Trail member wineries include: Au Bon ClimatAVA Santa BarbaraArea 5.1 WineryCarr Vineyards & WineryCottonwood CanyonDeep Sea Tasting RoomFox WinesGrassini Family VineyardsHappy Canyon VineyardJaffurs Wine Cellars and Kalyra Winery.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail.

 

Kunin WinesMargerum Wine CompanyMunicipal WinemakersOreana WineryPali Wine Co.Riverbench WinerySanfordSanguisSanta Barbara WinerySilver WinesSummerland Winery and Whitcraft Winery are also on the trail.

Created by a group of like-minded Santa Barbara County wineries, the Urban Wine Trail is comprised of 23 wineries that have opened both tasting rooms and production facilities, all within walking distance in downtown Santa Barbara. The Urban Wine Trail’s purpose is to promote and support the wineries and tasting rooms in the downtown Santa Barbara.  Members include wineries that hold a Type 02 winegrowers license and whose annual production is at least 75% from Santa Barbara County.  For more information visit urbanwinetrailsb.com.

Cheers!

Click here for more cocktail corner columns. Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on May 16, 2014.

Leslie Dinaberg

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”